The J. Paul Getty Museum

Still Life with Dead Birds

Object Details


Still Life with Dead Birds


Christoffel van den Berghe (Flemish, about 1590 - after 1642)






Oil on canvas

Object Number:



74.6 × 105.4 cm (29 3/8 × 41 1/2 in.)

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Object Description

In this hunting trophy painting, Christoffel van den Berghe saw the dead birds as opportunities to inventively orchestrate a variety of textures, patterns, and shapes. He not only showcased the birds' colorful feathers, but he complemented them with his entire still-life repertoire: fruit, flowers, and serving pieces.

The genre of "game pieces" generally dates from the 1640s; this is one of the earliest in the history of Dutch art. Few Dutch artists painted such works, perhaps because the market was small. Hunting and shooting were not practiced on a large scale in the northern Netherlands, and these paintings were not commissioned.

- 1779

Possibly Private Collection [sale, Mathyssen, Middleburg, April 20, 1779, lot 283.]

- still in 1811

Possibly Private Collection [unsold, Phillips, London, June 5, 1811, lot 106.]

by 1830

Sir Claude Scott, 1742 - 1830 [sold, Scott sale, Phillips, London, July 9, 1831, lot 37, for 8 British pounds.]

- 1971

H. D. H. Wills (Sandford Park, Sandford St. Martin, Oxfordshire, England) [sold, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, June 11, 1971, lot 84, through French and Company, Inc. (New York, New York), to the J. Paul Getty Museum.]

Baroque Masters from the J. Paul Getty Museum (February 26 to March 30, 1973)
  • California State University (Northridge), February 26 to March 30, 1973
Das flämische Stillleben, 1550-1680 (March 18 to December 8, 2002)
  • Kunsthistorisches Museum (Vienna), March 18 to July 21, 2002
  • Kulturstiftung Ruhr (Essen), September 1 to December 8, 2002

Mathyssen, Middleburg. Catalogus van een aanzienlyk cabinet konstige en plaizante schilderyen [...]. April 20, 1779, p. 27, lot 283 (possibly Getty painting).

Phillips, London. A Catalogue of an Extensive and Pleasing Collection of Pictures, of the Ancient and Modern Schools [...]. June 5, 1811, p. 7, lot 106 (possibly Getty painting).

Phillips, London. Ancient and Modern Pictures, by Order of the Executors of a Gentleman, Deceased [...]. July 9, 1831, p. 5, lot 37.

Christie, Manson & Woods, London. Fine Pictures by Old Masters. June 11, 1971, pp. 30-31, lot 84, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B. Catalogue of the Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1972), pp. 75-76, no. 93, ill.

Baroque Masters from the J. Paul Getty Museum, exh. cat. (Northridge: California State University, 1973), pp. 1-2, no. 2, ill.

Sullivan, Scott A. The Dutch Gamepiece (Totowa and Montclair, NJ: Allanheld & Schram; Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell Press, 1984), pp. 97-98, fig. A159.

Sutton, Peter C. A Guide to Dutch Art in America (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1986), p. 142, fig. 207.

Grimm, Claus. Stilleben: Die niederländischen und deutschen Meister (Stuttgart and Zurich: Belser, 1988), p. 97, fig. 42.

Meijer, Fred G. "Twee monogrammisten in rijksbezit geïdentificeerd. Christoffel van den Berghe en misschien Jan Vosmaer." Bulletin van het Rijksmuseum 42, no. 2 (1994), pp. 150-51, 153, 171, fig. 3.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 10, ill.

Nitze-Ertz, Christa, Ute Kleinmann, and Stephan Brakensiek, eds. Das flämische Stillleben, 1550-1680, exh. cat. (Vienna: Kunsthistorisches Museum, with Luca Verlag Lingen, 2002), pp. 136-37, no. 42, ill., entry by Ute Kleinmann.

Sotheby's, New York. Important Old Master Paintings. January 23, 2003, p. 80, under lot 39.

Bremer-David, Charissa. "About Time: The Hours of the Day in Eighteenth-Century Paris." In Paris: Life & Luxury in the Eighteenth Century, exh. cat. Charissa Bremer-David, ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2011), p. 21, fig. 10.